Congenital muscular dystrophy with defective alpha-dystroglycan, cerebellar hypoplasia, and epilepsy.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.3). 11/2009; 73(19):1599-601. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c0d47a
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The dystroglycan (DG) expression pattern can be altered in severe muscular dystrophies. In fact, some congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs) and limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDs) are caused by point mutations identified in six glycosyltransferase genes which are likely to target different steps along the posttranslational "O-glycosylation route" leading to a fully decorated and functional α-DG subunit. Indeed, hypoglycosylation of α-DG is thought to represent a major pathological event, in that it could reduce the DG's ability to bind the basement membrane components, thus leading to sarcolemmal instability and necrosis. In order to set up an efficient standard immunological protocol, taking advantage of a wide panel of antibodies, we have analyzed the two DG subunits in a small cohort of adult dystrophic patients, whom an extensive medical examination had already clinically classified as affected by LGMD (5), Miyoshi (1) or distal (1) myopathy. Immunofluorescence analysis of skeletal muscle tissue sections revealed a proper sarcolemmal localization of the DG subunits in all the patients analyzed. However, Western blot analysis of lectin enriched skeletal muscle samples revealed an abnormal glycosylation of α-DG in two patients. Our work reinforces the notion that a careful immunological and biochemical analysis of the two DG subunits should be always considered as a prerequisite for the identification of new putative cases of dystroglycanopathy.
    The Open Neurology Journal 01/2011; 5:68-74. DOI:10.2174/1874205X01105010068
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    ABSTRACT: A common group of muscular dystrophies is associated with the aberrant glycosylation of α-dystroglycan. These clinically heterogeneous disorders, collectively termed dystroglycanopathies, are often associated with central nervous system and more rarely eye pathology. Defects in a total of eight putative and demonstrated glycosyltransferases or accessory proteins of glycosyltransferases have been shown to cause a dystroglycanopathy phenotype. In recent years the systematic analysis of large patient cohorts has uncovered a complex relationship between the underlying genetic defect and the resulting clinical phenotype. These studies have also drawn attention to the high proportion of patients that remain without a genetic diagnosis implicating novel genes in the pathogenesis of dystroglycanopathies. Recent glycomic analyses of α-dystroglycan have reported complex patterns of glycan composition and have uncovered novel glycan modifications. The exact glycan synthesis and modification pathways involved, as well as their role in ligand binding, remain only partially characterised. This review will focus on recent studies that have extended our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying dystroglycanopathies and have further characterised this patient population.
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